1-2From the apostle Paul and from all the Lord's followers with me.
I was chosen to be an apostle by Jesus Christ and by God the Father, who raised him from death. No mere human chose or appointed me to this work.
To the churches in Galatia:
3I pray that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! 4Christ obeyed God our Father and gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins to rescue us from this evil world. 5God will be given glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Only True Message
6I am shocked that you have so quickly turned from God, who chose you with his gift of undeserved grace. You have believed another message, 7when there is really only one true message. But some people are causing you trouble and want to make you turn away from the good news about Christ. 8I pray that God will punish anyone who preaches anything different from our message to you! It doesn't matter if that person is one of us or an angel from heaven. 9I have said it before, and I will say it again. I hope God will punish anyone who preaches anything different from what you have already believed.
10I am not trying to please people. I want to please God. Do you think I am trying to please people? If I were doing that, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The letter to the Galatians is one of the first the apostle Paul wrote. It is his angriest.
Angry? The apostle of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, angry? Very angry.
Why? Because some people had infiltrated the church with “another message,” or, as he literally puts it, “another good news.” People were bringing into the churches “another message” which is not “good news.” And it made Paul angry. And it should make us angry too.
The infiltrators were distorting the message, saying that in addition to faith in Jesus, people needed to also be circumcised and keep the Law, do good deeds. That addition resulted in a subtraction; it turned “good news” into “bad news.” All that is needed for human beings to be saved, to live in saving relationship with the living and holy God, is the crucifixion of the Son of God. Nothing, literally nothing, needs to be added to the finished work of Jesus Christ. And when anything is added, it makes Paul angry.
The message is clear. Jesus obeyed his Father, and executed the Father’s plan for the salvation of the world by choosing the pain and agony of the cross. As a result he broke the power of sin, and then delivered us out of the evil at work in the world. Nothing but his death could do this. When anyone adds to the sufficiency of his death, what is added becomes the issue for people, and the cross is no longer central and sufficient to our salvation. Jesus has done everything that needs to be done for us to be in relationship with him and His Father.
So do not listen to anyone – human or angelic – who says otherwise!
Oh God, thank you. Thank you for your gospel. Do not let us try to add anything to it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.